Tom’s Family in Australia, 1970 – 1975
We Were Heckled at the Airport
In 1970 we arrived in Australia at the Sydney airport, where we met our hosts, and were taken by a yellow airport transport bus to our initial housing. As we got off the bus, we were met by a group of five or six men and women shouting at us in Czech, telling Rose and me to go back to Czechoslovakia. They told us we were making a big mistake by coming to Australia! We all assumed these hecklers were workers from the Communist Czechoslovakian Embassy, probably paid maybe $5.00 each to harass any arriving Czech citizens. Our hosts quickly led us away to our new housing. This new housing was in American built military dependent housing, then run by the Australian immigration Office, and it was quite nice
A Nicer Welcome, and Helen’s Birth
Suddenly someone called out “Welcome, Tom!” It was a young architect I knew from Prague, a younger engineer and architect from my school. It was fun, as we walked about later, to meet a number of other young people, old friends from Prague. Here Rose and I met neighbors and families, people we had known from old times and places. A while later we moved to a new apartment, near some Slovak engineers. Rose was about to give birth to our second daughter, Helen. When the time came a Slovak engineer family drove Rose to the hospital, and Helen was born.
Working in Australia
As new immigrants to Australia we were all treated well. Each new immigrant had some welcome skills, such as engineering or architecture. Immigrants with technical skills were arriving from all over. As well as Czechoslovakia, they came from India, England, Russia and Poland. As they were being processed,, they met a nice woman who worked at the bank from Europe and she helped them quite a bit. New immigrants also got unemployment and free food. Tom got a job right away working for the City of Sydney, and sometime later Rose got a job at the Sydney University.
Some of my jobs included building a gravity fed water aqueduct. All so much new construction, and repairs and infrastructures.
I reported to a city office in the morning every day for work, arriving by public transportation. Others I worked with included immigrants with technical skills from India, England, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and Poland. There were a few locals, but not that many. The Australians were mostly in charge of the office. Everyone I worked with were engineers and technicians. There were no computers in use in those days, and this type of engineering had to be calculated manually by slide rule.
During my four years there, computers were just coming into use in the workplace. One of the projects we worked on were the calculations to establish how heavy a fully loaded to truck could be based of the weight bearing calculations for the roadway.
We later moved to a new apartment that a British engineer had vacated. This apartment had nice ground, but it also had snakes. (And not just any snakes, but Australian snakes!)
(An Australian Eastern Brown Snake, one of the most dangerous in Australia.)